Al attempts to blend into and become a part of a placid watery landscape, surrounded by islands of syrup which do not proceed very deep into the distance, seem unnatural to the surface of the water, and might change shape if he were to move. The pancake on top of his head assumes the shape of his hair, again-attempting incongruity but failing. Syrup from the pancake runs to both the political right and left-fairness is the message which Senator Franken wishes to communicate. However, the water level is higher behind Al, showing that his presence creates a blockage and hides an imbalance. The general atmosphere is of stagnancy.
This is my impression of Al's candidacy, not of his politics. Unlike his closest spiritual predecessor, the late Paul Wellstone, Al has refused to inspire because he does not wish to offend. I employ a water theme in this painting as a reference to his GOP challenger Mike McFadden's very effective 'Al can't back up a boat' campaign tv advert which shows a Franken-like driver failing to navigate a boat on a trailer into a lake. The commercial rings true to me, again-not because it says anything about Al's politics, or even for the inferred reference that the candidate is not 'a true Minnesotan' but because it reflects the Senator's lack of impetus. For a public figure with a background as a comedian, the Senator's term and campaigns have been starkly humorless. His campaign's immediate reaction to the McFadden boat commercial was one of being seriously butthurt, and subsequent messages regarding the GOP challengers foreign investments, while probably true, seem a sarcastic rebuttal as much to McFadden's use of humor as to his content. Minnesota voters value authenticity above politics, which explains why successful candidates in this state can emerge from all corners. For this reason, if the campaigns maintain their current trajectories, I predict a McFadden upset in November.
On a personal level, this painting reflects the feeling that I'm just not getting very much done. I'm surrounded by projects which are ill-defined and unfinished. I spent a lot of time yesterday staring at waffle fries, which I suspect explains the shape of the pancake on Al's head. The higher water level behind Al represents energy accumulating for paintings I would like to begin-comedic and livelier paintings-in contrast to this one. I dislike Al Franken for not being funny as much as I am disappointed in myself for not being funny enough. It seems to rain every time I try to cut the grass. I am ineffective due to humidity. I think I've revise this painting and make everything in it seem even more humid, because that's just the way it is.